Monday, February 23, 2009

Lashner scores a home run with 'Blood and Bone'

A forlorn little boy whose greatest desire is to get to know his absent father faces the ultimate sorrow—he must attend the funeral of a man he barely knew, a man whose legacy consists only of a few cloudy memories and a hole in the child’s gut that can never be filled with anything but heartache, dejection, and regret. When the boy, Kyle Byrne, arrives at the funeral chapel with his mother and uncle, he is greeted with scorn and told to leave. All Kyle wants is for someone to tell him that they are sorry about his father dying. To be ordered to leave his own daddy’s funeral is more than Kyle can bear. The little boy spots the urn that contains his father’s ashes. He wants that urn. He wants his dad.

“The . . . man in the dark suit came up the aisle, slowly, jerkily, like in an old movie. Kyle charged right at him, threw out a straight arm, bounced off toward the front of the chapel. He sprinted up the aisle, snatched the urn, popped a spin move before dashing to the side door.”

Growing up, Kyle spots his deceased father everywhere he goes. He sees him at baseball games, in crowds, or just walking down the street. On the occasions that Kyle follows him, he is always disappointed. The shuffling old man with a “bob” of gray hair never turns out to be his dad. He reads obituaries and attends funerals, paying homage to his lost father’s memory.

One day, Kyle attends the interment of Lazlo Toth, his father’s former law partner who has been murdered. There, he meets Robert Spangler who claims to know certain things about Kyle’s father.

“Things that might surprise you,” Robert tells Kyle. “Secrets.”

With this meeting, Lashner’s tale of mysterious deaths, missing files, and human misfits, complete with nefarious characters and a plot that twists and turns with each page, unfolds at breakneck speed.

In addition to a clever, absorbing plot, Lashner has created engaging and endearing characters with whom the reader can identify and who successfully capture the reader’s imagination. His dialogue flows with ease and he imparts a feeling of familiarity through his successful execution of a tale that leads to the pinnacle of political power and the unraveling of dysfunctional family relationships.

Blood and Bone is a captivating read. It has broad appeal for suspense, mystery, and thriller aficionados.